What is attachment theory?

ATTACHMENT THEORY IN CLINICAL PRACTICE

Integrate attachment theory principles into your practice––address patterns that can undermine connection and intimacy.

WHAT IS ATTACHMENT THEORY?

Attachment theory, developed by therapist John Bowlby, seeks to provide the framework for how the attachment system develops, presents and connects––and disconnects––in our relationships.

Babies are born pre-programmed to form attachment to others to ensure survival. In human evolution, babies who remained close to their caregivers were more likely to grow into adulthood (and in turn reproduce).

When primary caregivers are available and respond to an infant’s needs and cues, the infant learns the caregiver is dependable, which allows the child to develop a sense of security that is the base for the child to then explore the world.

If we grow up with mostly responsive, pro-social and consistent caregivers, that tends to prime us for secure attachment

If, as children, our needs are not met or we experience neglect, birth trauma, illness or disadvantageous socio-economic conditions, we likely developed attachment injuries or adaptations––less healthy patterns, emotions and behaviors that allowed us to survive and cope with less-than-ideal circumstances.

Why is it so important to learn about the attachment system?

Unfortunately, we had no say or control in whether our needs would be met or unmet. We simply responded or adapted to the experience instinctively. That means this adaptation or attachment style is the “original blueprint” for how we perceive, connect with and relate to others and the world around us––and it often informs our adult relationships unconsciously.

Our attachment system is rooted in an instinctual, evolutionary urge to connect to our caregivers, as it ensures our chances for survival.

Why is that important? Because it means that we are already biologically wired for secure attachment. 

Our innate attachment system is highly adaptable, which means we can all learn new skills and tools to help us return to our dominant state of secure attachment, enabling us to experience authentic connection, safety and joy in our lives and relationships.

The Origins and Development of Attachment Theory

My work builds upon the foundations and lineage of John Bowlby, who defined the “attachment behavioral system” in the 1960s, during his research into the distress children experience when separated from their caregivers. 

Mary Ainsworth’s work divided the attachment system into distinct styles: secure, insecure avoidant, insecure ambivalent. Main and Solomon later added the category of insecure disorganized.

Contemporary research shows that these early experiences in childhood create a “blueprint” for how we interact in adult relationships—and can affect our behaviors, expectations and perceptions, often unconsciously. Many of our “triggers” or reactions are rooted in this relational template

Attachment Theory and Hope for Healing

Current work in the attachment field, as well as revelations of modern neuroscience on brain plasticity, give us the exciting opportunity to shift destructive relationship patterns into constructive behaviors.

The good news is that no matter what our early caregiving situation or past relationships looked like, it’s possible to restore secure attachment, radically change the nature of our relationships and experience greater intimacy, wholeness and resilience.

What Are THE FOUR Attachment Styles?

Curious why people behave and respond the way they do? Learn more about each of the four main adult attachment styles…

Secure Attachment

Secure attachment is attunement—or the ability to form trusting, meaningful and lasting relationships. Securely attached adults seek social support and have the ability to share feelings.

Avoidant Attachment

Adults with avoidant attachment may avoid intimacy, may be unwilling or unable to share their innermost feelings or have trouble investing emotionally in any type of relationship.

Ambivalent Attachment

Adults with ambivalent (preoccupied) attachment tend often crave emotional intimacy but worry that others don’t want to be with them, which can result in needy or clingy behaviors.

Disorganized Attachment

Adults with disorganized attachment often experienced abuse, neglect or trauma as a child and tend to find intimate relationships confusing and unsettling because they feel unworthy and are terrified of getting hurt.

Attachment Issues in Relationships

OVERCOME TRAUMA. RESTORE CONNECTION.

WAYS YOU CAN LEARN ATTACHMENT

Online Trauma & Attachment Training

Choose Your Path to Success

What if you could draw from attachment theory to promote healing and strengthen relationships?

HARDWIRED TO HEAL

The foundation for all of our training rests on Dr. Diane Poole Heller’s firm belief that we are all hardwired to heal. Our bodies and our brains store memories of early experiences, creating patterns that deeply affect our relationships and behaviors in adult life.

And when you can discover the source of those patterns––to get to the root of unresolved trauma––you can turn theoretical insights into practical help and healing to deepen intimacy and restore secure attachment.

Whether you’re ready to broaden your thinking and deepen your clinical toolbox or you’re simply curious how an understanding of attachment styles can support psychological, emotional and behavioral growth, there’s a training program right for you…

Adult Attachment Styles

INTRODUCTION TO ATTACHMENT

In this 2-hour, 4-part self-paced video training series, Dr. Diane Poole Heller delivers a quick, yet thorough primer on the four attachment styles: secure, avoidant, ambivalent and disorganized.

For only $67, you’ll learn:

This video training includes a short welcome––plus four video and audio recordings, transcripts and a follow-along workbook filled with experiential exercises, tips, and space for reflection––all designed to help you begin your healing journey as you strengthen secure attachment skills.

SPECIAL BONUS

To help you better understand how each of the four attachments presents in your life and relationships, you’ll also get the Attachment for Everyone eBook and the Adult Attachment Styles Reference Guide for FREE as our way of saying thanks for registering!

Attachment & Trauma Mastery Training

TWO WAYS TO LEARN DARe

Your clients need help now more than ever before. But few of us expect the work to be easy. 

In everyday therapeutic sessions, you need more than theory alone to get to the root of unresolved trauma to help yourself and others heal.

Using the framework of Dr. Diane Poole Heller’s signature DARe approach (Dynamic Attachment Repatterning experience), we offer a variety of courses and programs that help you apply concrete skills, interventions and strategies to clinical sessions––integrate the work with existing modalities to strengthen secure attachment and bring healing to any relationship.

Choose how you want to learn…

No matter which way you choose to learn DARe, you’ll quickly identify the relationship or coping patterns that underlie the dynamics of a person’s emotional difficulties––and discover practical ways to integrate and apply training that’s highly applicable to your personal and professional life.

Advanced Training for Clinicians

DARe CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

Elevate your clinical skills and work more effectively with clients. Discover how to address unresolved trauma, heal attachment wounds and restore and strengthen secure attachment skills––to support healing and resilience for any type of relationship.

Using the framework of Dr. Diane Poole Heller’s signature Dynamic Attachment Repatterning experience approach (DARe), the Certificate Program combines psychotherapeutic modalities, scientific and spiritual perspectives with attachment and  trauma-informed tools, techniques and strategies.

Gain skills you need to work more effectively with clients…

Monthly Training for Clinicians

Therapy Mastermind Circle

Join a monthly online membership program where we explore relevant topics, share expert learning and gain practical skills and interventions that help you and your clients grow and thrive.

The Power of Attachment Book

CREATE DEEP AND LASTING RELATIONSHIPS

Why do we experience recurring struggles in our relationships? And why do traumatic events often awaken or amplify our fear, anger, isolation and helplessness?

Overwhelming experiences can disrupt our most important connections––parts of ourselves (within), the physical world around us and with others. And in the wake of trauma, your attachment style deeply influences what happens next. 

With expert guidance, this book teaches the principles and practices for finding your way back to wholeness, resilience and connection––based on the unique way you connect with others.

Here, you’ll learn key insights and practices to help you:

Adult Attachment Styles

INTRODUCTION TO ATTACHMENT

In this 2-hour, 4-part self-paced video training series, Dr. Diane Poole Heller delivers a quick, yet thorough primer on the four attachment styles: secure, avoidant, ambivalent and disorganized.

For only $67, you’ll learn:

This video training includes a short welcome––plus four video and audio recordings, transcripts and a follow-along workbook filled with experiential exercises, tips, and space for reflection––all designed to help you begin your healing journey as you strengthen secure attachment skills.

SPECIAL BONUS

To help you better understand how each of the four attachments presents in your life and relationships, you’ll also get the Attachment for Everyone eBook and the Adult Attachment Styles Reference Guide for FREE as our way of saying thanks for registering!

Attachment & Trauma Mastery Training

TWO WAYS TO LEARN DARe

Your clients need help now more than ever before. But few of us expect the work to be easy. 

In everyday therapeutic sessions, you need more than theory alone to get to the root of unresolved trauma to help yourself and others heal.

Using the framework of Dr. Diane Poole Heller’s signature DARe approach (Dynamic Attachment Repatterning experience), we offer a variety of courses and programs that help you apply concrete skills, interventions and strategies to clinical sessions––integrate the work with existing modalities to strengthen secure attachment and bring healing to any relationship.

Choose how you want to learn…

No matter which way you choose to learn DARe, you’ll quickly identify the relationship or coping patterns that underlie the dynamics of a person’s emotional difficulties––and discover practical ways to integrate and apply training that’s highly applicable to your personal and professional life.

Advanced Training for Clinicians

DARe CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

Elevate your clinical skills and work more effectively with clients. Discover how to address unresolved trauma, heal attachment wounds and restore and strengthen secure attachment skills––to support healing and resilience for any type of relationship.

Using the framework of Dr. Diane Poole Heller’s signature Dynamic Attachment Repatterning experience approach (DARe), the Certificate Program combines psychotherapeutic modalities, scientific and spiritual perspectives with attachment and  trauma-informed tools, techniques and strategies.

Gain skills you need to work more effectively with clients…

Monthly Training for Clinicians

Therapy Mastermind Circle

Join a monthly online membership program where we explore relevant topics, share expert learning and gain practical skills and interventions that help you and your clients grow and thrive.

The Power of Attachment Book

CREATE DEEP AND LASTING RELATIONSHIPS

Why do we experience recurring struggles in our relationships? And why do traumatic events often awaken or amplify our fear, anger, isolation and helplessness?

Overwhelming experiences can disrupt our most important connections––parts of ourselves (within), the physical world around us and with others. And in the wake of trauma, your attachment style deeply influences what happens next. 

With expert guidance, this book teaches the principles and practices for finding your way back to wholeness, resilience and connection––based on the unique way you connect with others.

Here, you’ll learn key insights and practices to help you:

FIND SUPPORT IN A HEALING COMMUNITY

Trauma and attachment training for therapists & individuals

WHY ATTACHMENT?

Free Attachment Styles Quiz

FIND OUT YOUR ATTACHMENT TYPE

Take this free quiz to discover your attachment style and better understand the roots of relationship issues.

NOW OPEN for a limited time! Attachment in Psychotherapy  SAVE A SPOT >>

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